Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be by to discuss the college football and NFL seasons.
Kiper has served as expert analyst for ESPN's annual NFL Draft coverage since 1984. His pre-draft predictions are frequently the most accurate. Kiper is also analyst for College GameDay on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Kiper Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Peter Takesian (Lawrence Mass)
Since the Pittsburgh Steelers defense is aging, do you think that addressing that specific entity of their football team will be a priority in the first three rounds of the draft.
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I think it will be. CB, certainly. Could use a DT. But they have an OT need as well. That's a positional need area in the first few rounds as well. There is no CB to take at 18. Joe Haden will go early. Patrick Robinson, Kyle Wilson, those types of corners are more late 1, early 2 kind of guys. Then you look at NT, do you take Terrance Cody? That's a little high. You don't have to say it has to be a defensive player.
Chris (Las Vegas, NV)
Hey Mel is there any good late round wide receivers that my chiefs can get a steal.
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Andre Roberts out of The Citadel. Chris McGaha, Arizona State; Marcus Easley, Connecticut; Pat Simonds, Colgate; David Reed, Utah.
I heard you mention on the radio last night that Colt McCoy could end up in Washington with Shanahan. What other teams do you see McCoy a good fit?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I think of Shanahan, because he fits what Mike likes to do. He's like Jake Plummer. St. Louis will be a team that thinks QB down the line a little bit, if they go with Suh at No. 1. McCoy could be in the mix for them. Seattle could be in that position. Buffalo. Jacksonville could be a team looking to add a QB, if Garrard is inconsistent. But with Colt McCoy, he doesn't have the arm strength, but St. Louis is a dome team.
Paulos (San Diego)
Do you think Terrence "Mount" Cody's weigh in at the senior bowl will drop him to the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
He's a NT. He's going to have an issue where his weight will fluctuate. You look at what he can do and clog the middle. There's a fit for Cody, but trying to find him a spot in the 1st round. I would think more second round. But his weight will always fluctuate.
Would you expect Clausen and Bradford to throw at the upcoming Combine?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I don't think so, no. I would be surprised. Clausen, definitely no. He's coming off of toe surgery. He won't be ready until April. Bradford has to wait until he's physically ready. Will it be at the Combine? We don't know. I wouldn't throw until I'm 100% able to show the NFL what I'm capable of.
Joe (Norwalk, CT)
What do you see the Colts doing?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
The Colts don't have a lot of needs. That's why they're the AFC champs. They could have made history. If they beat the Saints, what could have been? They'll have won the Super Bowl, but they'll just be one of many teams that won the Super Bowl. But if they went 19-0, they'd be considered the greatest team of all time. If they won those two games, they'd be making history. You'd be watching history, like with the Patriots a couple of years ago. But as far as needs, they could use an OT. Maybe a MLB. Depth at DE. There's not much else they need. You saw how deep they were at WR with the injuries they had. This team drafts well. They've been fortunate to get by without Manning being hurt. During Manning's tenure, they've had the most fragile QB situation of any team. If he gets hurt, they're not winning with Curtis Painter. They're not winning with Jim Sorgi. This is amazing. They've had some luck with Peyton Manning staying healthy. That's why pulling Manning late in the year is something they felt they had to do.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
But all they had to do was play five more quarters to play to try to make history. I still think getting a competent backup at QB is something they still need.
Mel-sell me on the Bucs taking Berry at #3. To me that's too high to take a low value postion like Safety.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I think it's a high value position. If you look at the NFL right now, look at what Rodney Harrison meant to New England. Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu. Brian Dawkins in Denver and the loss felt in Philadelphia. When the Giants lost Kenny Phillips that was one of the major injuries of the year. Darren Sharper in New Orleans. The safety position is tremendously critical with the way teams throw the football right now. Run support. Being instinctive. Berry is a playmaker. If you have a safety like that, your defense will be better than what it's been.
Zach Robinson (Senior Bowl)
Hey Mel, I was just curious as to what you think my draft stock is and where I could possibly end up if at all? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I think when you look at the QBs, if the year had gone the way it could have gone - Dez Bryant missed most of the year and nothing fell into place with this offense. That effected Zac Robinson's ability to make plays. The great arm strength isn't there. Right now, at best, 6-7 round, more than likely an undrafted free agent. That will get you into a camp. Chase Daniel went that route. Graham Harrell. Brian Hoyer.
Do you see the Ravens going for a wide receiver or a cornerback in the first round, and who would that be in either case?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I think WR. Darrius Webb is their savior at CB. He was making great progress but got hurt against the Bears. You can see how they were exposed against the Colts. The Ravens have a lot of nickel and dime guys, but no pure CBs. I think Webb will be an excellent corner. I thought they needed a WR last year and they didn't get one. It backfired on them a little bit. Their No. 1 WR came out of retirement last year. That's what Mason did. They don't have a true No. 2 WR. Heap at TE is not the player he once was. So, they could even go TE, maybe a Jermaine Gresham. Aaron Hernandez. They would be a nice improvement at TE. They had an interest last year in Pettigrew. If you look at WR this year, I don't see one that they could get in that spot.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Some guys that aren't first round WRs but are interesting: Marty Gilyard, Cincinnati; Brandon LaFell, LSU; Jordan Shipley, Texas; Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss; Eric Decker, Minnesota; Blair White, Michigan State; Damian Williams, USC; Dezmond Briscoe, Kansas, Mike Williams, Syracuse; Carlton Mitchell, South Florida. Those are some guys that would be interesting in the middle rounds, 2-4 round kind of guys.
where do you see tony pike going in the draft, and which nfl teams could you see drafting him?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Tony, I still think will end up in the third round. He's got the height. He can make all of the throws. He just needs a little bit of work. Needs to put a little weight on his frame. Improve his foot work. But I do think with his arm and his height and his accuracy, that he'll have a chance to become a developmental QB.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
The Eagles have tons of needs - what are their top 2 priorities and who should they be targeting?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
They have FS need. OLB. Those are their top two needs. Navorro Bowman, Penn State could go early on to them. Then you're looking at getting a FS, maybe a Darrell Stuckey, Kansas. Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech. I think Burnett is going to be a great second round pick for somebody. I talked to John Tenuta and he raved about Burnett. About his work ethic, came ready to practice every day. Good run support, great instincts. If you look back, that's where the Eagles got Dawkins, in the second round.
What are the Cowboys needs in the upcoming draft in order of position importance?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I think the Cowboys' top needs, they don't have a lot. LT, when Adams got hurt, you could see the difference. Another safety. And they could use someone to put the ball through the uprights to replace Suisham. Not having a kicker cost them big time in the playoffs. The two best kickers are not in this class. They are juniors: Kai Forbath, UCLA; Alex Henry, Nebraska. Two excellent prospects. There are not guarantees this year at kicker.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I had the Cowboys taking Bruce Campbell, junior OT out of Maryland. Showed a lot of promise.
what do the bears look to grab first with only 3rd round and later picks? FS, DE, or O-Line help? and who might they target?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
You just have to wait and see who falls through the cracks. They did a nice job last year with their late round picks. They did a nice job in getting Al Afalava and Johnny Knox. They need a OT, DE, WR. They have a lot of needs.
How much has Kyle Wilson's (Boise) Senior Bowl practices helped his draft stock? Late 1st rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Yes. He's always had a high grade. He's fluctuated from my 5th to 3rd highest rated CBs. When I talked to Boise State, they said he was a real student of the game and real leader in the secondary for the Broncos. He'll run under 4.4. He has some toughness. He'll come up in run support. He's in the late first round mix. With the CB situation the way it is, he could be in the mix for teams like Baltimore, Minnesota in the late first round.
Bob (Buffalo, Ny)
With new coach Chan Gailey liking mobile QB's, could that put the Bill's in the market for Dan LeFevour in the 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Dan's got some ability. He has the ability to be a third round pick. But what Chan's got to look at is Clausen at No. 9. Clausen can move around a little bit. Their top need is LT. Maybe a Anthony Davis. They could also look at Colt McCoy or a Tim Tebow in the second round. I question Tebow's ability to adjust, we saw his struggles from being under center this week. It's a transition to going from being in the deep shotgun to under center. If you can't take a snap from center, you can't play QB.
John (Columbus, OH)
Obviously, they had the bad pick with Gholston; however, that aside, is there another team who have hit as many home runs in the draft the past few years as the Jets?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
The Jets have done a great job. Teams will always have misses. There were a lot of teams that were saved on misses, because the player was still on the board. All of these teams are stocked with good personnel people. You're looking at needs and players. You need good luck to hope that it lines up. Dustin Keller, Ferguson, Washington, Revis, Mangold. But the Jets were very fortunate as a football team. They had luck in the draft, but what about on the field. They played two teams at the end of the year that didn't care. Even though they were games that were giftwrapped for them, they got supreme confidence from that. You have to give them a lot of credit for that. But the bottom line is that this team didn't have Leon Washington or Kris Jenkins, yet they were able to win 2 playoff games on the road.
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Next year, this is a team that's going to be very, very good. Sanchez will be 100% better. You have the dynamic backfield in Greene and Washington and Jones. But the guy that's got to be better is Braylon Edwards. He drops way too many balls. I have them taking Tate in the first round. WR, pass rushing DE/OLB, FS are their big needs.
Chris (Augusta, GA)
Who do you think the falcons should target at linebacker?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
You have to wait and see how it flows in the first round, but I have them taking Sergio Kindle, who in their scheme could play DE. They also need a CB. DE, OLB, change of pace RB because Norwood's been banged up. But a guy like Kindle can play down as a pass rusher or play on his feet some.
Do you think the Seahawks will get a decent back-up QB? It seems like every time Matt Hasselbeck goes out of the game they fall apart.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I think they have to. I think Pete Carroll will look at it and say let's get my guy. Get someone that he hand picks as his QB. They have two picks. I have them looking at Morgan at No. 6 and at No. 14 CJ Spiller. What they could do at 6, if Bradford is there, take him. Or, if they want to wait, they could get Clausen at 14 if he's still there. Carroll saw a lot of Clausen, recruiting him out in California and playing him three times. There's also the talk about Carroll liking Matt Leinart, with their days at USC. But I don't know how you pass up Clausen at 14.
Which player do you think will make the most impact during his rookie season?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I think CJ Spiller, because he's a RB. Who had the big impact this year as a rookie? Shonne Greene. Bernard Scott made some nice contributions in Cincinnati. Moreno in Denver did a good job his rookie year. Beanie Wells was a major contributor to Arizona and their success this year. Cleveland at No. 7, Seattle at 14 could be places for Spiller. Dexter McCluster, this league is set up for a guy like him. He's just not real big. DeSean Jackson, everyone was concerned about him. Size isn't a factor in the NFL if you're not physical. Look at Sproles.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Then you look at the pass rushing guys. Sergio Kindle. Sapp. Those combo guys do well. Jerry Hughes. Eric Norwood out of South Carolina. The only one over the years that has not developed and been a bust is Vernon Gholston. DeMarcus Ware, Terrell Suggs, Wimbley, Merriman, Orakpo, Matthews.
Is Sapp big enough for OLB in Belechick's system?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
I do. I think he's big enough. I think he's a guy that will probably be able to add some weight. He'll be 6-4, 250. I thought he was always a borderline first rounder. I talked to a lot of guys this season and they had positive feedback on Sapp.
Given that KC has 3 picks in the first 2 rounds, I think they should use on of those picks to get a DL. What names come to mind that are worthy of a high to mid second round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
You're talking about NTs and 3-4 kind of guys. But I think they need a WR, LT, FS. They have different areas of need beyond defense. You have to look at OT in Russell Okung from OK State. Glenn Dorsey has been misplaced in this defensive scheme. They drafted Tyson Jackson to be a good fit. At NT, that's where you look at a Terrence Cody as a second round type of guy.
Who should the Titans look to draft?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
OLB. DE. CB. WR depth. I have them taking Everson Griffen. If you want OLB at that point, I really don't see anyone there that enticing at that point. CB, the same thing. Carlos Dunlap, maybe a Jason Pierre-Paul. You have to hope if you're Tennessee that one of those three guys are still on the board.
Jahvid Best is the best running back in the draft u wanna bet me
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
He has the talent to be the best RB in the draft. I don't know if he'll be better than Spiller. They're similar players. They're both around 5-10, 200. Spiller is in the Reggie Bush mold, because of his return skills and he can catch the ball. Best is coming off of the concussion. Good runner. He's still not built to be a primary guy. You're talking about Felix Jones type. He'll be a very good RB.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Best could be in the mix for teams in the late first round - Green Bay at 23. New Orleans could be interested, depending on what happens to Reggie Bush. But if he gets out of the first round, he's not getting past 33-40.
Mel, who are your sleepers at defensive end this year?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Christian Anthony, Grambling - he was second on the team in tackles, forced four fumbles, had 5 INTs. James Ruffin, N. Iowa; Hall Davis, Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-5 and he'll run in the 4.5-4.6 range. Adrian Tracy, William & Mary, combo DE/OLB.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Next week we'll be able to give a complete report on the Senior Bowl and be ready to preview the Super Bowl. We had the Colts winning big last week, so we nailed that. We had the Vikings, but they covered. Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees. The Saints and Katrina. We'll have some fun previewing the game next week.